Diseases Of Optical Nerve

Diseases Of Optical Nerve (Visual Nerve) And Optic Tracts (Optic Neuropathy)


Vision function begins when rays from objects are focused on the retina. Light energy is converted into electrical energy in the retina. These electrical impulses are transmitted to the visual center in the brain by passing through the optic nerve, optic chiasm and optic tract called visual pathways. Nerve fibers emerging from the retina merge to form the optic nerve.

The optic nerve can be damaged for various reasons and vision or field of vision loss may occur.
Causes of optic nerve disease:

Compression of the optic nerve: due to thyroid (goiter) diseases
Infection of the optic nerve: most commonly due to otitis media and sinusitis
Ischemia of the optic nerve, i.e. occlusion of the vessels feeding the optic nerve
non-arteritic (diabetes, hypertension is the most common cause)
arteritic (due to arterial inflammation: this is a very severe condition,
Blindness in both eyes may occur if treatment is not started immediately.
Traumatic cut or injury of the optic nerve
Damage to the optic nerve sheath in diseases progressing with loss of nerve sheath called multiple sclerosis.
Toxic effects on the optic nerve due to alcohol (methyl alcohol), tuberculosis drugs such as ethambutol-isoniazid, damage due to radiation therapy
Damage to the optic nerve as a result of some systemic diseases such as lupus-Behçet’s
Optic nerve atrophy as a result of some genetic-familial diseases such as Leber’s disease
Optic nerve damage due to eye pressure, i.e. glaucoma
Apart from the eye, damage to the optic nerve and visual pathways may occur due to neurological diseases:

Papilledema and related optic atrophy as a result of increased intracranial pressure (ICP)
Pressure on optic chiasm by pituitary gland adenoma or tumors
Occipital lobe and visual cortex problems
Bubbling in brain vessels (aneurysms)
Brain tumors
Infections such as meningitis-encephalitis

Depending on the location of the damage in the optic nerve and visual pathways, various types of losses occur in the field of vision.

In optic nerve diseases, patient sees the objects hazy, gauzy and pale; senses field of vision losses.
The light reflex is weakened on the affected side and contrast sensitivity, color vision and visual field are impaired.
Treatment: Depending on the underlying cause, it is done by the relevant branch of medicine.

In optic neuritis due to multiple sclerosis, there is damage to the myelin sheath that supports nerve conduction.

In ischemic optic neuropathy, the treatment modality is determined after the arteritic/non-arteritic distinction is distinguished by a high sedimentation rate. If it is arteritic, high dose and long-term cortisone is required to protect the other eye and if it is non-arteritic (sugar-blood pressure control), depending on the cause, blood thinners are applied together with cortisone. Magnovision and growth factor support may be required to increase optic nerve blood flow.
In trauma-related optic nerve diseases, magnovision and growth factor treatments with cortisone are urgently applied.

The cause of optic nerve disease can be understood with other examinations, especially MRI.

Optic atrophy (weakening, drying of the nerve) may occur as a result of various optic nerve diseases. In this case, new visual pathways can be activated by stimulating the weakened visual nerves with magnovision/okuvision.

If the eyes and visual pathways are completely damaged, it seems that all blindness can be cured in the near future by applying stimulating chips, that is, cortical prostheses, to the visual center in the brain. Experimental studies on this subject are ongoing, and there is no routine and widespread application yet.